Donnelly brings a new beginning for first-year students

By Jessica Langdon
Leaven staff

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Judith Bautista is planning on a career in medicine someday and, at Donnelly College, she found the perfect prescription for success.
Donnelly “doesn’t tell you ‘no’” said Bautista, of Kearney, Mo.
In fact, it is in the business of saying “yes” — to make a college education both accessible and affordable to as many students as possible.
Bautista is part of something special here — Donnelly’s largest-yet class of first-year students.
One thing that really drew the recent high school graduate to Donnelly was “that it’s a Catholic college.”
When she joined other new students on Aug. 13 for orientation, she especially looked forward to the afternoon event — service projects across Kansas City, Kan. From making blankets for a children’s hospital to helping elementary teachers prepare their classrooms for the start of school, Donnelly’s newest students put their mark on the community from day one.
It was the first-ever “DC Day of Service.”
Bautista came in with enough college credits to be a sophomore. She was active in National Honor Society and student council in high school, and she was excited about getting involved at Donnelly.
“They try to help you as much as possible, and they’re very friendly,” she said.
First-year student Tyler White also picked up on the friendly atmosphere.
“It’s easy to talk to people,” he said. “People will randomly just say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ and start a conversation.”
He likes the price and the pace. He sees Donnelly as the kind of place to focus on gaining knowledge.
The students here come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences and love the diversity they see on this campus.
And the staff genuinely cares. As the new students toured the campus, they started to figure that out fast.
Despite the fact it was Saturday and school hadn’t yet started, classrooms and offices were wide open.
Jaime Fuentes, academic computer coordinator, walked new students through their first logins on Donnelly computers and helped them print their first-semester schedules.
“I like how helpful everybody is,” said new student Aubree Egan, of Kansas City, Mo. “I’m very excited.”
A scholarship helped her decide on Donnelly.
Sean Cepeda of Lenexa liked what he had seen of the school so far. He’s studying information technology.
The service projects showed him just how much the school cares and wants to give back to the community.
“It’s a small school with a lot of heart,” he said.